Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House sits atop Barnsdall Park, one of my favorite pseudo-lookout points in Los Angeles. When I first visited the park two years ago the house was closed with a fence surrounding it, so I admired details from the outside. You could walk up to the front door and peek in though small square windows, but you never got a full grasp of the layout of the house. Lucky for me and other Angelinos who have been patiently waiting to see the houses’ interior, it’ll be reopening February 13th with free admission and tours throughout the night! Yes, that’s the weekend of Valentine’s Day and yes, this will be a killer Valentine’s date, so make note.
Belgian producer Aeroplane pumped out a killer hour-long Balearic mix as a free download when you hand over your email address, not a bad trade off for an hour of a fascinating genre. Get to grooving.
I first heard of Suzanne Lummis and her influence on the Los Angeles poetry renaissance in a poetry class I took at CSU Long Beach from my professor, Bill Mohr. Entrenched in Los Angeles’ poetry renaissance himself, it was absolutely fascinating to hear him discuss being part of the momentum of the poetry movement, which he contributed to in writing his own poems and running his own small-press poetry magazine. Suzanne Lummis’ poetry was presented as part of the school of stand-up poets (others may learn of Lummis from the “Fresno School”, a group of poets graduating, writing, and publishing from Fresno, CA), a genre I had no idea could even exist. Mohr included her poem, “Letter to My Assailant” in his book Holdouts, an anthology for the Los Angeles poetry renaissance.
Stand-up poetry isn’t exactly what you think, you probably won’t laugh out loud from every piece you read, you might not even giggle to yourself, or smirk. To me stand-up poetry is a more candid approach to poetry. Lummis’ “Letter to My Assailaint”, for example, is shocking. We hear of rape, we hear of harassment, we hear of assault, but we do not hear details, or even more often, read details of these incidents, ““I can’t breathe;’ I gasped,/ and you loosened your hold./ I suppose I should have been grateful,/ instead I felt impatient with men,/ with their small favors.”
As poetry should, each line packs a punch of emotion and imagery that’s too raw to shake, with Lummis’ snide follow-up thoughts as the only comfort to keep you engaged with the poem. Lummis’ new book of poems, Open 24 Hours doesn’t stray from her stand-up, raw verbiage stylings. Here’s an excerpt from a poem featured in her new book:
This pale, feverish presence
inside your life is you,
and those are loud strangers
gripping beers. But why die,
ever, while stores shout out
their bargains, hot CD’s,
and one can gaze at the bodies
who’ve stopped dancing now
and stand about jaggedly
because the doorways
of rock clubs pumped them
into open air? No doubt about it,
all this is for you.
Some Doo Wop tune
on the airwave says the night’s
thousand shifting eyes
are on the watch. You guess
two of them are yours.
Tonight Mr. Good
or Bad might pluck you
from the crowd.
There’s some place you’re
supposed to be, some fun
you’re supposed to have.
It’s fate, your fate, and it’s open
It wouldn’t be fair to say Alpine slipped under my radar because my radar has been all over the place lately, usually focused on disco, but mainly listening to comedy podcasts. Alpine is is six-piece band from Melbourne, Australia cranking out some sugary-sweet sounding tunes that are full with soft coos and explosive keyboard and guitar riffs. Alpine’s A is for Alpine pulls your ears in slowly and envelops your entire body by the chorus with both intro tracks “Lovers 1″ and “Lovers 2″. One of my favorite tracks follows these two, “Hands”. It’s a song that translates from a sunny drive to a disco dive on the dance floor. Actually, a lot of the album feels that way, which is probably why I’ve been digging it so hard. Anyway, have a peep:
Billie Black’s “I Don’t Need Another Lover” was on Nialler9′s “New music weekly” Spotify playlist, twice. Probably an accident, but after I listened to it once, was ready to play it again, and then five more times after that. The 19 year-old singer/songwriter from London isn’t fucking around with her sultry voice or the lyrics that clash with the sound. More than that, she has a much better understanding of the relationships and intentions between men and woman than I do at 24. Billie Black’s Facebook page says shes currently unsigned, I wonder if it’s because she’s waiting for XL Records to approach her with a deal. Get to it, someone. Billie’s gonna hit it.
Breakbot made a mixtape in October 2012 that had Get A Room!’s edit of “Down in The Basement” that I instantly fell in love with. Get a Room! has kept under the radar for the most part, but I’ve started to see their name pop up on my Facebook feed more recently with some gigs they’re playing, and a special treat for my ears (and now yours) a Boiler Room set! Dig in:
Hey XL Records, thanks for coveting your newest roster addition, Jungle. I can see why you’ve done that. Jungle, based in the UK, has a beautiful handful of singles released thus far featuring big vocals and bigger brass sections. Like The Roots and TV on the Radio had a music baby with more electronic digs, the duo (who performs live with five other band members) has sprung onto everyone’s music radar seemingly overnight. Only a label like XL could do that. Of course, it helps to have the cash flow and the clout, but when music’s good, it’s good, and word will travel fast. XL has hit the nail on the head (yet again) with Jungle, even building up the fact that they’re a “mystery band” (are they taking a page from Jai Paul?). These songs will be sought after for major commercials and local artists video’s alike. I can’t wait to hear their full album already.
A former skateboarder and graffiti artist, 16 Knapper (16 Buttons), a producer from Bergen, Norway took his need for self-expression elsewhere, specifically to a MPC mixer and some old records. What we have here today is his first album, Astral, which is claimed to be a form of self-expression that couldn’t be achieved through other mediums. There’s a handful of good stuff going on here for a first album. The first track “Take Off” reminds me of something I’d hear on HNNY’s “Music For Listening” mixtapes, featuring looped beats, audio clips from old records, and sounds that shift from scratches on vinyl to dubbed keyboard riffs. “Takeoff”, “Return of the King”, and “The Solider Boogie” are three tracks I’d recommend listening to. The rest of the album falls flat, they have a good base but lack any substance. I’m not sure what would make me want to re-listen to Astral. The album caught my eye in the first place with it’s really interesting cover art. The songs seem like great stems and loops to work with for a remix, and with more time producing under his belt, I’m sure these could be turned into much more full sounding tracks.
If you’re going to engage in a high-speed chase, rob a bank, turn into Superman, or save the world, you’ll need the perfect soundtrack to match, specifically Dark Model’s “Close to Infinity”. “Close to Infinity” sounds like what heroism looks like, big electronic orchestral build-ups that move the song forward, with big enough breaks in the notes to feel like you’re free-falling into whatever sort of trouble the good citizens of such-and-such town need saving. In other words, if a Tron 2 were to be released, I think Daft Punk would know who to collaborate with next. Dark Model has opened for David Bowie and Kraftwerk, and being based in New york may help listeners understand how such a heroic sounding album could be created. “Close to Infinity” comes from the forthcoming self-titled album which will be released May 16th.
Danish designer/DJ duo Borneland released number 23 of their monthly mixtapes, this one’s titled “Dandelion”. They see the dandelion’s presence as a bit of a curveball in the garden of life: A dandelion may appear in your garden of hopes dreams, and aspirations, but they don’t uproot the entire flowerbed, and sometimes, the dandelion gives your garden the edge it needs. With that said, Borneland admits they do like dandelions. I haven’t heard the dandelion of this mix, it’s a nice hour of house tunes, a handful and a half of remixes by Claptone, Joris Vroon and Danish contemporary Kasper Bjørke. Free download, so you can add this mix to your garden of tapes.
Tracklist after the jump…